Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

It’s 2018. Blockchain is here, opioids have caused a national emergency, and those two things have more to do with each other than you’d think.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

As the city prepares for the international mobs of South by Southwest, one small but growing industry is doing some last-minute tinkering.

The nation’s first cash-dispensing bitcoin ATM was installed about a year ago at HandleBar on E. Fifth St., just in time for SXSW last year. But for the last few months it’s been out of service, in need of a software upgrade. Sheldon Weisfeld, CEO and co-founder of CoinVault ATM, went in Monday to make the necessary repairs.

"The website of major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was offline Tuesday amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft, a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency," The Associated Press reports.

Also Tuesday, all the posts had been erased from the Mt. Gox Twitter account.

Kelly Krupa/KUT

The first cash-dispensing Bitcoin ATM machine in the U.S. launched today, and it’s right here in Austin.

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that was first developed in 2009; it is a peer-to-peer payment system that operates outside of a central authority or bank. As previously reported by KUT, Bitcoin was created for and traditionally used as a web-based currency, but some are attempting to move the currency offline.

The new Bitcoin ATM represents a big step in the process of trying to brand Bitcoin as a more “mainstream” form of currency.

Bitcoin is blowing up, both in the successful and not-so-successful sense.

The currency is as volatile as a Texas summer is miserably hot. But the volatility’s not stopping Austin movers and shakers from capitalizing on the craze.

Last week, a Bitcoin startup that will help grow the online currency popped up in Austin. But some Austin Bitcoin’ers are trying to moving the currency offline and into the real world.